England women maintain momentum

Sarah Taylor

Opener Sarah Taylor blasted 92 from 63 balls to set up the first of England's two victories

England women continued their preparations for the NatWest Series against New Zealand with two Twenty20 victories against male opponents at Denstone College yesterday.

Following the previous Saturday’s T20 wins over Bedford School, England saw off Denstone College and Staffordshire Under-17s by 16 and 14 runs respectively.

The World Cup holders immediately stamped their authority in the opener against the school first XI as Sarah Taylor and Charlotte Edwards put on 107 for the first wicket.

Edwards hit four fours en route to 35 before Claire Taylor shared in a fifty partnership for the second wicket in 32 balls.

Sarah Taylor was eventually run out 92 from 63 deliveries, having struck 14 fours and a maximum, but Claire Taylor looked in good form, hitting four fours in 32 from 25.

England posted a formidable 189 for two - aided by nine no-balls, six wides and 13 byes - and restricted Denstone to 173 for six.

Nicky Shaw and Laura Marsh were the main wicket-takers, picking up 2-19 and 2-20 respectively.

Shaw struck once and Marsh twice early on to leave the hosts 62 for three before Danielle Wyatt added another courtesy of Jenny Gunn’s catch at long-on.

Anya Shrubsole bowled a solid spell and accounted for star player Aneesh Kapil, who hit 63 off 29 and cleared the ropes five times. Heather Knight held on at deep square-leg to leave Denstone on 148 for five, chasing 42 off 14 balls.

They came up short as Shaw took her second wicket via another catch from Shrubsole.

Edwards handed newly appointed vice-captain Gunn the reins for the second game, but again led by example as she and Claire Taylor made 21 and 20 respectively.

Beth Morgan was unlucky to be caught off a good ball in the ninth over to leave her side 57 for three, but Lydia Greenway top-scored for England with 45 in as many balls - hitting four fours as well as clearing the ropes.

Gunn, who hit 24 off 18 including two fours and a maximum, and Greenway put on 49 before the former fell in the 17th over.

Laura Marsh and Greenway perished in the final over as England posted 131.

Defending a much lower total than in the first game, Shrubsole stepped up to take 3-30.

Holly Colvin was first to break through, in the seventh over, and Wyatt followed up to leave Staffordshire 50 for two at the start of the 11th.

Gunn, who finished with 2-21, made a double breakthrough to reduce Staffs to 89 for five.

Heather Knight took the catch of the day in the final over as the under-17 side closed on 117 for eight.